It is very important for parents to understand the long and short-term effects of teenage drinking, so that you can provide your teen with the facts before it is too late.
The Teenage Brain
Perhaps the main problem with teenage drinking is that the brain is not fully developed and drinking alcohol can prevent it from ever reaching its full potential. Drinking at any age kills brain cells, but in teenagers it can impact long-term memory well into adulthood.
If the teen’s brain does not develop properly, he or she could end up with poor grades and lack significant job opportunities in the future.
Another parental worry is injuries, especially if the teen chooses to drive under the influence. Teen drinking and driving kills close to 2,000 adolescents annually, which is reason enough to prevent your teen from drinking.
As a parent, it is important to watch for warning signs about possible alcohol use in your teen. Many teens will experience a sudden change in attitude, which can include behavioral problems at school.
Other teens will remove themselves from their existing social circles and start hanging out with new friends. In some cases, this can lead to depression, as the teen is not sure where he or she fits in anymore.
You could also notice that alcohol is missing from the home frequently and that your teen is very secretive about where he or she is going on weekends.
What Parents Can Do
Dealing with a teenager is often very difficult, as they can be moody and their attitudes can change in an instant. As a result, it is important that the issue of alcohol use is handled with care.
Start by watching out for media influences in your child’s life. There is a constant stream of alcohol advertising on television that is directed toward teens. Ask your teen for an opinion on these advertisements to get some insight into the teen’s attitude on alcohol.
You can also ask your teen to sign a driving pact that include a clause on drinking and driving. If your teen is caught driving after only one drink, the clause should give you permission to revoke the teen’s driver’s license.
Speaking with your teen about the long-term risks can also help prevent alcohol use. There is a good chance that your teen is simply unaware of the consequences and having an honest discussion could go a long way.
You could even threaten your teen with a stint in one of your local addiction rehab centers, which could straighten him or her out very quickly.
Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.